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Family of Jimi Hendrix Sues Over Vodka Marketing

Jimi Hendrix's family filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over the use of the guitar legend's name to market a brand of vodka.

The family claims in the lawsuit that companies owned by Seattle businessman Craig Dieffenbach used trademarked material to market Hendrix Electric Vodka and other products.

Janie Hendrix, Hendrix's adopted sister and chief executive of Experience Hendrix, the family's company, said the promotional campaign was a "sick joke" because Hendrix's death in 1970 was tied to alcohol consumption.

"We are greatly concerned that there may be a perception that Experience Hendrix has, in some way, authorized this sale of vodka," she said in a statement Tuesday. "As a matter of strict policy, we have never promoted an alcoholic beverage."

Hendrix Electric Vodka is packaged in purple-tinted bottles and has Jimi Hendrix's face and signature above the label.

Dieffenbach said the lawsuit has no legal basis because a 2005 federal court ruled that Experience Hendrix does not own the rights to Jimi Hendrix's name and image — just his music.

A news release on the family's Web site did not specify damages, if any.